Bhubaneswar: Around 200 protesters on Monday were taken into custody for picketing near government offices, torching an empty college bus and pelting stones at a few vehicles during a state-wide bandh which disrupted train and road traffic and hit normal life.
The bandh has been called by Congress against alleged police crackdown on partymen during a rally on September 6.
More than a dozen trains were stopped at several railway stations including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Khurda Road, Berhampur and Sambalpur as bandh supporters staged dharna on the tracks, a spokesman of East Coast Railway (ECoR) said.
Vehicular movement virtually came to a grinding halt in many parts of the state as passenger buses, trucks and auto-rickshaw remained off the roads, police sources said.
A large number of passengers were seen stranded at railway stations and bus stands at many places, while roads wore a deserted look during the one-day shut-down. City bus services in many places like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri were suspended.
Shops, business establishments and commercial centres downed their shutter in major areas including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Balasore, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Rourkela, Baripada, Bhadrak and Angul, sources said.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions remained shut in most areas.
Around 200 Congress supporters including some party leaders were taken into custody in places like Bhubaneswar, Rourkela and Cuttack while picketing near government offices and other places to enforce the bandh, called in protest against alleged crackdown by police during a party rally at MG Road on September 6, sources said.
Elaborate security arrangements were made by the police with heavy deployment of force throughout the state to prevent any untoward incident during the shut-down.
"The situation is peaceful and no untoward incident has so far been reported from any part of the state. We are keeping a close vigil," a senior police official said. In the state capital, about 51 platoons of force (around 1700 personnel) have been deployed at different places while strict vigil is maintained near government buildings, vital installations and other sensitive locations.
"Our bandh call has evoked overwhelming support from the public. It is peaceful and complete success," said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik.
"It shows people are against the BJD government headed by Naveen Patnaik," he said.
(With additional information from PTI)